Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will deliver the keynote speech at the inaugural centenary event of Bangladesh founder Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on March 17, 2020 in Dhaka.
The event will launch year-long programmes between 2020 and 2021, formally described as “Mujib year” celebrations. An array of Indian leaders, along with international dignitaries, will attend the event and the year-long celebrations, officials said.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi is invited and he has confirmed his participation,” said Syed Muazzem Ali, High Commissioner of Bangladesh. Officials in Dhaka confirmed Mr. Modi would deliver the keynote. Attending the Bangladesh Book Fair in Kolkata, Mr. Ali said many Indian politicians would also be invited.
“Many Indian Chief Ministers and Opposition leaders will be invited. There will be programmes in Delhi, Kolkata and Agartala; our missions in India have planned a variety of programmes,” Mr. Ali told The Hindu.
In Dhaka, officials said at least “30 global leaders are invited” to various programmes and “about a dozen have already confirmed” their participation. Pakistan will not be invited.
President of Bangabandhu’s Birth Centenary Celebration Committee Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury said besides Bangladesh and India, events are planned in London, New York, Tokyo and Moscow.
“Eight sub-committees are formed. The international sub-committees are detailing the overseas programmes,” Mr. Chowdhury told The Hindu on phone. In Kolkata, several joint events will be hosted.
“The  Kolkata Book Fair will be dedicated to Bangabandhu. There will be joint publications, media conferences, production of documentaries and seminars in Kolkata and Agartala,” Mr. Chowdhury said. Indian journalists, who reported extensively during the 1971 war, will be invited to Dhaka to share their experience.
Economic growth’s impact on diplomacy
Bangladesh has emerged as one of Asia’s “most remarkable…success stories” with consistent 6% growth over the last decade, economist Kaushik Basu noted earlier. Mr. Ali acknowledged that his country’s foreign policy was trying to match up with its growth.
“With economic development we are trying to open more diplomatic missions across the world. We will be opening six missions including three in Africa shortly. We are looking for bigger space for the Kolkata mission [Deputy High Commission] and the library, so we may make it be fully operational,” said Mr. Ali.
Bangladesh government’s library in central Kolkata — once an occasional home for former Pakistan Prime Minister of Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy — is loaded with old books and the volumes of archival material could not be digitised due to space shortage.
“We can plan a separate cultural centre cum library, if space is available,” Mr. Ali said. While the Bengal government has offered a land for purchase in the new city, in Rajarhat, the deal is yet to be finalised.
Source: The Hindu
BDST: 1719 HRS, NOV 15, 2019